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The theory: America’s gangs have gotten less violent

The case for: The thinking is simple: Gangs have realized that shootings are bad for them. Knowing that police are much more likely to come down on their neighborhoods or organizations if they take part in a shooting, gang members have tried to avoid violence.

”The violence is simply bad for business,” George Tita of the University of California Irvine says. “If one of their friends is part of a shooting, it’s going to make it tougher for them to put money in their pocket.”

The case against: There isn’t good research on whether gangs are getting less violent overall and how much of an impact that’s having on crime. Tita acknowledges this: “No studies have been carefully constructed to give me 100 percent confidence or even 90 percent confidence that any one of these things I’m telling you is true.”

The bottom line: Still unclear. Intuitively, the idea makes sense. But without adequate research, it’s hard to know just how accurate it is.

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